Cicilline Amendment to Promote Innovation and Job Growth Adopted by Full House

May 8, 2012 Issues:

WASHINGTON – With bipartisan support, the full House of Representatives today adopted an amendment to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Act offered by U.S. Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) to include language relating to the Regional Innovation Program – strengthening its prospects for funding during the conference committee process.  This marks the first time that the full House has adopted an amendment offered on the floor by the freshman Rhode Island congressman.

“We have to use every opportunity to promote the innovation economy at the regional level so that we can remain competitive and create jobs in high growth industries,” said Cicilline.  “With so many Rhode Islanders still looking for work, my amendment will raise the standing of the Regional Innovation Program as the appropriations process moves forward, helping build additional momentum and support for this initiative in the House of Representatives.”

The America COMPETES Act of 2010 mandated the creation of a Regional Innovation Program within the Economic Development Administration in order to encourage and support the development of regional innovation strategies, including science and research parks and regional innovation clusters - networks of interconnected firms and institutions working to accelerate job growth, business formation and expansion, innovation, workforce training, and small business development.

In his FY2013 budget request, President Obama requested $25 million to fund the Regional Innovation Strategies Program. Both the FY 2012 and FY 2013 Senate CJS Appropriation Committee Reports included recommendations to fund the Regional Innovation Program. However, the FY 2012 Conference Agreement for the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 (which funded the Economic Development Administration) ultimately did not include a separate account line for the Regional Innovation Program. Without creating new programs or changing spending, Cicilline’s amendment adds a line item in the House CJS Appropriations bill for the Regional Innovation Program which can later be used by appropriators when making final determinations for funding programs within the Economic Development Administration.

Cicilline’s amendment was adopted during debate on the House floor Tuesday afternoon.  The House will continue consideration of the CJS Appropriations Act tomorrow.